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Student story

Jongmin Choi

20 July 2023

"UC’s been a great place for providing support and exploring opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise..."


Master of Civil Engineering with an endorsement in Construction Management

KiwiRail Project Manager, KiwiRail Ltd.


Originally from Korea, Jongmin and his family decided to start a new chapter in New Zealand and study a master's degree, after he had completed a project in the Philippines working with a Korean railroad corporation as a project manager.

Civil Engineering at UC got his attention due to the department's strong reputation in New Zealand.

"The reason I chose UC is that I am able to study in more detail the project management field," he says." UC helped me make a soft-landing. While studying construction management at UC, I was able to learn about the construction industry situation in NZ, and connect my prior knowledge with NZ's codes and standards. It is very helpful to me working in NZ."

For Jongmin, study in New Zealand was the best option because of the benefits that he and his family were able to access, such as a great education quality for his children, the outdoor activities and the clean environment that he and his family can enjoy.

The cost of living, the environment in Christchurch, and the different support programmes that UC provides were other reasons that Jongmin considered.

"Christchurch, NZ’s third-largest city, has many attractions and hidden gems. In addition, UC has lots of support programmes to help international students settle down, so I received a lot of help from support services such as the international office and postgraduate office. For example, UC Career Hub provided the step by step guides and tools to write my CV."

He also advises other students to use the different support programmes that UC provides to help settle in, as well as joining any club committees that help to open up opportunities and networks.

"I've been part of a student life programme called 'Bridge' which is gathering for international students coming from all over the world. I was a guitarist of the music band for Bridge and I learnt lots about cultural diversity and how to interact and work with people. UC's been a great place for providing support and exploring opportunities I wouldn't have had otherwise."

After his graduation, Jongmin moved to Auckland with his family where they continue to enjoy the New Zealand lifestyle. He is now working as a KiwiRail Project Manager in Auckland at KiwiRail Ltd, where he is involved in the RNGIM (Rail Network Growth Impact Management Programme) team which will upgrade the Auckland Metropolitan Rail Network to a modern metro standard.

"I'd like to contribute to the NZ Rail Industry. I worked for advanced rail technology like high-speed rail system in other countries, so I am keen to use this knowledge at some point.

"If you have studied Civil Engineering in your home country and worked in that field, it would be great to continue studying in NZ. I am sure that UC will help you by providing a range of various fields such as fire engineering, structure engineering, earthquake engineering, as well as project management, and find opportunities to settle down and work in NZ after studying."

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